Kenosha here we GO!!

Hey Runners!

We are approaching another GREAT weekend of racing for many Chicago runners! This includes a large group of participants from CARA’s 2011 Winter Marathon and Half Marathon Training Programs, who are racing in the 2011 Kenosha Full and Half Marathons on Saturday, May 7. The Kenosha events have grown over the past three years into attractive, very well managed races. And, they are conveniently located just 60 miles North of Chicago.

Interestingly, the Kenosha events offer a unique combination of challenges that provide a “Laboratory Experience” for the development of effective race management skills. These factors are common to other marathon courses of varying degrees of challenge. Reports from runners who have raced these courses over the past 2 years and a review of the rolling terrain and the current forecast of weather for Saturday in Kenosha, suggests that runners who do not race mindfully, will encounter some difficulties – errors in race judgment are likely to result in slowing of running pace during the latter half of both the Full and Half Marathon events and significant mid race and post race discomfort. However, effective race management is likely to limit the iprobability of unpleasant results. Please review the following relative to effective racing in Kenosha on May 1.

GENERAL RACE PLANNING – As a reference, please refer to my earlier blog, posted on April 28, recommending running races in 3 roughly equal segments of increasing speeds. This concept is often described as “Negative Split Racing.” Though the argument in favor of “Negative Split Racing” is compelling, external factors often require adjustments to this race strategy as described in the following:

RACE PLANNING FOR KENOSHA – The events in Kenosha offer a great opportunity to experiment with adjusting racing strategies in response to the following external influences to be expected while racing in Kenosha on May 7:
• Terrain – the course is rolling throughout – though the degree of inclines and declines do not appear to be great, runners will NEVER be on flat ground!
• Wind direction and velocity – 8 MPH Winds are forecast out of the East-Northeast – that is off of the lake and therefore imposing a “Wind-Chill” to Core Body temperatures!
• Air Temperature – Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid 40’s to mid 50’s
• Humidity – The humidity is forecast to be 77%
• Rain – There appears to be a 30% chance of light rain showers

So, though not certain until Saturday morning, it currently appears that runners in both events will be facing the possibility of rain, a strong likelihood of a combination of Head, Tail and Cross Winds throughout their races and the virtual certainty of a continuing cycle of “Up-Hill” and “Down-Hill” terrain.

I recommend the following pacing strategy, to manage the constantly changing external influences in Kenosha –

• Implement an “In and Out” race strategy relative to hills and wind –
o An “In” is an aggressive pace, focusing upon being posturally upright and with very brief foot contact time with the ground during “Down-Hill” and/or “Tail Wind” segments
o An “Out” is a slower pace than an “In”, while focusing upon being very relaxed and using the least effort possible – posture and very brief foot contact time with the ground remain very significant during “Up-Hill” and/or “Head Wind” segments

• Run at an “In” (higher) level of intensity while running efficiently during
o “Down-Hill” segments of the course
o Segments when assisted by a “Tail-Wind”

• Run at an “Out” (lower) level of intensity while running efficiently during
o “Up-Hill” segments of the course
o Segments when resisted by a “Head-Wind”

• When encountering a “Cross Wind” remain posturally upright and focus upon being very relaxed and efficient

I recommend the following race strategy specific to the Kenosha Full Marathon course and the wind forecast for May 1:

Race Segments

Start to 3.5 miles of Up-Down-Up Terrain with a Head Wind

3.5 – 4 .5 miles of Down Hill Terrain with a Tail Wind

4.5 – 8.1 miles of Down-Up-Down Terrain with a Head Wind

8.1 – 19 miles of Rolling Terrain with a Tail Wind

19 – 26.2 miles of Up-Down Terrain with a Head Wind

I recommend the following race strategy specific to the Kenosha Half Marathon course and the wind forecast for May 1:

Race Segments

Start to 2.5 miles of Up-Down Terrain with a Tail Wind

2.5 – 8.5 miles of Rolling Terrain with a Head Wind

8.5 – 11.5 miles of Down-Up Terrain with a Tail Wind

11.5 – 13.1 miles of Up-Down Terrain with a Head Wind

An “In” intensity level is appropriate during the final 3-6 miles of a Full Marathon and during the final 1-3 miles of a Half Marathon, regardless of the anticipated influences of Wind and terrain.

Selection of gear that will assure a healthful core body temperature during rain is very important. This is likely to be gear that is both water repellent and breathable (maintaining body heat but also allowing air to cool body heat as needed). Gear that covers head, torso and hands will be effective tools for maintaining a healthy core body temperature. I recommend making final gear choices just prior to the start of the race. This will require arriving at the race with several hat, shirt and glove options.

Running efficiency is always going to be a HUGE factor in determining racing results – both in performance and comfort levels. The importance of running efficiency is increased as the influence of external factors, such as hills, wind and heat are increased. Running in the most posturally upright position with a very brief period of foot contact with the ground will result in high levels of running efficiency. It will be helpful to re-establish an upright posture and a foot strike point that is beneath the hips after completion of each down-hill course segment.

Most of all – HAVE FUN!

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April 30 and May 1 Racing

Hey Runners!

I am very excited to report the following results from a very active weekend of racing –

• April 30 – The Illinois Marathon in Champaign, Illinois
o Michael Kloppenbach – 3:48:53 – PR!

• May 1 – The Big Sur Marathon in Big Sur, California
o Olga Ulitsky – 3:24:30
o Michael Gordon – 3:29:55
o Justin Wasserman – 3:33:25
o Monika Neale – 3:38:20
o Matthew McLeod – 3:38:21

• May 1 – The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio
o Matt Gibson – 3:17:57

• May 1 – The Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska
o Bill Ballinger – 3:03:29 – PR!

• May 1 – The Eugene Marathon in Eugene, Oregon
o Christina Overbeck – 2:49:28 – PR!
o Stacy Nigrelli – 3:34:02 – PR!
o Gordon Kane – 3:57:55

• May 1 – The Eugene Half Marathon in Eugene, Oregon
o Beth Lakier – 1:30:43
o Kirsten Swanson – 1:53:09
o Anne Martino – 1:58:35
o Hope Alexander – 2:25:49

Many PR’s – MUCH FUN – CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL – Let’s begin preparing for Fall 2011 events!!

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Eugene Oregon and Pre

Hey Runners!

I am thrilled that runners that I have been coaching will be competing this weekend in two prominent 5 K’s in Chicago and Full Marathons in Champaign, Illinois, Cincinnati, Ohio, Lincoln, Nebraska, Big Sur, California and a Full and Half Marathon in the running capital of the U.S. – Eugene, Oregon. As I have been reviewing the course map in Eugene, I have been reminded of my many visits to Eugene for Cross Country and Track & Field competitions. Going to Eugene has always felt to me like a running pilgrimage. The history and lore of running in Eugene has been kept alive by the powerful commitment to Track and Field and Cross Country by The University of Oregon, the passionate Eugene Track and Field Officials Association and the passionate Track and Field fans of Eugene and strong financial support by Nike.

My last visit to Eugene has remained memorable. This was to attend an NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship event several years ago. During that visit, I stayed in Bed and Breakfast lodging, that overlooked a beautiful canyon, just a few miles East of Hayward Field – the historic Track and Field stadium on the U of O campus. At the beginning of a run on a Friday morning, I trotted down a road, winding Southward and Westward and turned right onto a side road that appeared to head toward an adjoining canyon. As the road curved to my left, a very large boulder bordered the road to my left. A glance at the boulder to my left revealed the following, crudely hand painted inscription, on the face of the large boulder – “Pre May 30, 1975 RIP”. I was stunned! I had gone for a run near the epicenter of US running and accidentally discovered the site of the tragic auto crash that resulted in the death of Steve Prefontaine, a true icon in the history of U.S. running!

I am recalling that Pre, in his short, 24 year life, rose to celebrity status, in an era that preceded our current level of intense interest in running. Pre was a winner! He won over Cross Country, on the Track and in life! I was privileged to have met Pre briefly and to have watched him run at several national Cross Country and Track and Field Championships. His passion for running, life and worthy social causes won the hearts of Track and Field and running fans around the world. He was a tireless advocate for running in the community of Eugene. The “Pre Trails” in and around Eugene, began as a vision of Pre, and became a model for communities in search of healthy running venues. Because of Pre’s relentless pressure, the completion of the trails ultimately became a remarkable collaboration by the city of Eugene, The University of Oregon and local Eugene and Springfield, Oregon Logging Mills. Steve also fought many intense battles with the former AAU, for the rights of athletes to exert greater control over their running careers. He was a major force in the movement toward openly professional running in the U.S. and around the world. Before Pre’s fight for athlete’s rights, runners were unable to openly receive financial compensation, as post collegiate runners and Track and Field athletes can today.

Pre’s legacy remains as one of the most influential personalities in the development of the culture of running as a way of life in the U.S. and around the world.

I am proud that 6 runners that I have been coaching will be running in The Eugene Full and Half Marathons on Sunday, May 1. I expect them to enjoy the culture of running in Eugene, including the Pre Trails and I hope that they can also experience a bit of the spirit of Pre that continues to thrive in Eugene and beyond.

coach bill Leach

To learn more about Gait Analysis and Personalized Training for runners with Coach Leach please visit http://www.coachleach.com and http://www.thetrainingorganizer.com

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Race successfuly with negative splits

Hey Runners!

Break your race into 3 roughly equal parts. Run the first 1/3 of your race at approximately 10 seconds per mile slower than your goal pace – your heart rate should be at or near 70-75% of your Max Heart Rate during the first 1/3 of your race. Run the middle 1/3 of your race at your goal pace – your heart rate should be at or near 75-80% of your Max Heart Rate during the middle 1/3 of your race. Run the final 1/3 of your goal pace at 10 seconds per mile faster than your goal pace – your heart rate should be at or near 80-85% of your Max Heart Rate during the final 1/3 of your race. Allow deviations from the designated pace and heart rate targets as needed when external factors such as wind, footing and hills impose the need for changes in your effort level.

And, always HAVE FUN while racing!!

coach bill Leach

To learn more about Gait Analysis and Personalized Training for runners with Coach Leach please visit http://www.coachleach.com and http://www.thetrainingorganizer.com

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